We wanted to see a little bit more of the Australian countryside, so we planned a road trip starting from Sydney and going as far as the Murray Valley and back again.
Our first stop was Jervis Bay. This is about two and a half hours drive from Sydney City centre, so it isn’t particularly challenging for a family with an infant.
Jervis Bay is a beautiful stretch of coastline (one of its beaches is listed in the Guinness Book of records as having the whitest sand in the world) and its clear blue waters are home to a whole host of marine life including dolphins, penguins, seals and migrating whales.
We decided to time our journey to coincide with the start of J’s morning nap! He was a little bit cranky when we put him in the carseat, but once the engine started running, he fell asleep (much to our relief!) and remained comatose for most of the drive.
We booked a small self-catering house, The Mariner Beachfront, which was well located on Callala Beach, situated on the northern side of Jervis Bay. Since we were travelling in May, during the offpeak season, we were able to book it for a bargain price! The house had two rooms (one room for ourselves and J, and the other room for the other family we were travelling with).
The little house was clean and well-maintained, and best of all, the master bedroom had a huge picture window with a spectacular view of the sea! Every single morning, we would look out the window and watch the resident Jervis Bay bottlenose dolphins swimming by, leaping and playing in the surf.
We arrived in Jervis Bay in mid-May, which is the start of the whale migratory season that lasts from late May to late November. Mother humpback whales often stop to rest in the shallow, sheltered waters of Jervis Bay with their newborn calves. We were fortunate enough to see a pair of these during our visit!
J was very excited to see the dolphins and the whales, and would look intently at them whenever they surfaced, often with a spray of water from their blowholes.
For people who are interested in having a closer encounter with the marine life, there are plenty of whale-watching boat tours heading out from Jervis Bay. However, the cruises are two to three long and not really suitable for infants who find it difficult to settle in noisy places.
We did go for one of these trips, as we were travelling with another family who was very keen and persuaded us to join them. J was actually very happy for most of the trip, but towards the end, he did become grouchy and bothersome which was unpleasant not only for ourselves, but for the other passengers on the boat. (In J’s defense, the next morning after the watch watching tour, we woke up to find that he’d cut his first tooth! Poor little fellow!)
In the late afternoon, when J was taking his nap, we took turns to nip down to the beach for a quiet stroll beside the indigo waters. Once, my husband even took blanket with him so that he could have a nap on the soft, powdery sands.
J was rather confused by his first encounter with sand on Callala Beach, which seemed to make him very nervous. He made it very, very clear that he did not ABSOLUTELY did NOT want to sit on the sand (perhaps he could feel it shifting under his weight) so we just held him on our laps and let him put his feet in it. He especially liked watching us sprinkle the sand in the air, letting the wind whirl the sand away.